- Family Type Team
Universal Sans is a variable typeface system that allows users to customize the typeface in a web application with a selection of variables and alternative characters, then download the bespoke font they have created for their project. Often a custom or customized typeface would be ideal for a project, but time and budget constraints rule this out, or designers may select a typeface but wish to tweak one or two characters based on their preference or to make it more ownable for the client. The goal was to make custom typefaces more cost-effective and accessible and to explore the aesthetic and functional possibilities of variable fonts.
From a conceptual point of view the prototype was very similar to the final design. The aesthetics developed as did the scope of the project to incorporate new features and functionality. The design and development stages of the project were happening concurrently so we were constantly trialing and tweaking aspects until we arrived at the finished product.
The project required overcoming many technical hurdles as it is the first project of its kind. Designing the underlying variable font that was possible of such a wide range of variation and customisation was a big part of the project. The custom web interface and the user experience was also crucial in making it intuitive and engaging. Finally the project required extensive scripting to automate the typeface mastering process and generate the customized fonts for the users. Each of these three aspects required innovation to overcoming multiple technical hurdles and work as a functional product.
Using the site to experiment with the range of variability is a creative and rewarding experience. We imagined it would be a tool where the user approached it with a certain concept in mind, however it is really quite a creative tool where you can stumble upon combinations and styles you might not have otherwise have considered.
There has been an explosion of new technology that has enabled more creative digital expressions and it's only getting more exciting. We like to explore the intersection of design and technology with a focus of typography and type design. Today we are able to incorporate new technologies such as WebGL or AR in design applications that can be experienced by all users as barriers to adoption of new technologies are removed.